Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Apple Rumour Roundup, Mac|Life’s bi-weekly take on the rumors and speculation surrounding Cupertino. This week, we’ve got our radar set on the iPad 3. With a launch window set for early next month, the talk about the device has really been heating up. Let’s take a look at a pair of the more interesting rumors that have cropped up recently, both of which come to us courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.
This past week, the Wall Street Journal let loose with a pair of iPad 3-related predictions, one of which sounds plausible and the other… well, no so much. Let’s start with what’s plausible.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the next iteration of the iPad will hit the streets on March 7 — a launch window that falls into line with the launch date of the original iPad — and will feature baked-in 4G LTE technology. In the U.S., this wicked-fast wireless will be dished up by Verizon and ATT and we can see this happening. Apple tends to beat their competition to the punch when it comes to innovative hardware design, but they’re wary of adopting new standards in a timely manner.
And if you don’t believe us, load a Blu Ray disc into your Mac’s optical drive and watch what happens.
In North America, 4G networks are finally widespread enough and have evolved to the point where including compatible technology in a mobile product finally makes sense to Cupertino. What’s more, a number of Apple’s chief competitors such as Samsung and Motorola have already been dabbling with including 4G LTE communications in their tablets. While Apple still holds the lion’s share of the mobile computing marketplace, they need to not only innovate but match the features available from other hardware vendors. Cramming 4G LTE communications into an iPad goes a long way towards doing exactly that. Oh, and if that’s not enough for you, in addition to zippy uploads and downloads, it’s being widely speculated that iPad 3 users will also enjoy a Retina-style display, Siri integration, a larger battery, a quad-core processor and improved front and rear facing cameras.
And now for the newspaper’s awkward unicorn riding speculation, sponsored in part by Bigfoot.
In response to the scorching success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Apple will be releasing an eight inch version of the iPad this spring. Sorry, but that’s a dream that, at least for the time being, we’ve got to tread on, and here’s why: Steve Jobs was expressly against the introduction of an iPad with a screen size smaller than 9.7 inches. This was for a number of reasons. First, it stood to cannibalize sales of the iPod touch, and perhaps more importantly from Jobs’ point of view, a smaller screen diminished the user experience he envisioned for the iPad.
You might say that with Jobs no longer at the head of Apple, the floodgates are open for innovation that couldn’t have been realized under his iron fisted reign as CEO. This might be true, but even if Tim Cook and the rest of the board decided to give the go ahead for a smaller iPad, it’s highly unlikely that it would ever be turned around in time for release next month. Companies like Apple plan the evolution of their product lines months and years ahead of time, and test them extensively before bringing them to market. For them to bring a smaller tablet to market as a knee-jerk reaction to the Kindle Fire seems unlikely. Besides, Amazon didn’t ship as many of their tablets as they did because they were smaller than the iPad — they flew out the door because they were insanely cheap, and therefore more accessible to consumers than other higher priced tablets like the iPad.
In other non-iPad related news, the often ignored Mac Pro will finally be receiving the update it so justly deserves this year. According to MIC Gadget, the next Mac Pro will come decked out with NVIDIA graphics, an 8-core Ivy Bridge processor with 20MB of cache, and improved heat dissipation. With any luck, we could expect to see the new Mac Pro break from cover by Q3 of this year. We’d love to see this happen: As much as we love the iMac and Mac Mini, the Mac Pro holds a special, freakishly powerful place in our hearts. It’s time that the overpowered goon of the Mac family got an update.
Be sure to check back in two weeks time for the latest Apple hardware and software rumors!